technically, every day is “Pollen Day.” However, Wednesdays are my favorite day
of the work week – I take a break from staring at the computer while analyzing data and instead do some hands-on data collection.
me as I collect pollen samples!
start off at Schlinger Laboratory, leave at the back entrance, take a
shortcut through Beckman, enter
through the back door of Keck, and proceed up three flights of stairs.
It is my last flight of stairs.
might call going up and down three stories on a hot day burdensome. I call it
exciting. Who knows what pollen discoveries lie on the top? Each time, I
wonder if the machine has collected any new pollen or whether any pollen have
reached their peak in their growth season. The suspense is nail-biting!
have reached the last door on my way up to the roof. I open it and see the
light at the end of the tunnel!
just more stairs.
climb my way up as I feel the hot sun on my face and shoulders, and once I reach the top, I glance over at the San Gabriel Mountains and wonder what’s going on at the Mount Wilson Observatory at the very top.
There are numerous other machines and piping systems on the roof, but I turn my attention
to the apparatus to my left.
called a Pollen Trap. It contains a wheel inside that turns with a tape that collects
the pollen over a set period of time. I open the machine and replace the wheel with the tape inside every week.
take a final glance at my open laboratory from my observation post on the roof, then
head back down the stairs to lab, where I will prepare the pollen samples for
has been another good Wednesday for harvesting pollen samples!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.